Abstract

376. Chapter 9 discusses data that may be available, from partner countries and international institutions, on transactions with compiling countries. Examples are data compiled by other countries; data, which is provided by foreign embassies and international institutions, on expenditure and bilateral development assistance in respect of compiling countries; and data from records of nonresident creditors. This chapter also discusses availability and use of statistics, which are compiled by international institutions, on development assistance and external debt.

Introduction

376. Chapter 9 discusses data that may be available, from partner countries and international institutions, on transactions with compiling countries. Examples are data compiled by other countries; data, which is provided by foreign embassies and international institutions, on expenditure and bilateral development assistance in respect of compiling countries; and data from records of nonresident creditors. This chapter also discusses availability and use of statistics, which are compiled by international institutions, on development assistance and external debt.

Partner Country Data

Bilateral Reconciliation and Exchange of BOP Statistics

377. A bilateral reconciliation of BOP statistics involves comparison of data that are compiled by two countries and that purport to measure the same set of transactions. For example, country A’s estimate of resident travel expenditure in country B could be compared with country B’s estimate of travel expenditure by residents of country A in country B.

378. In a well-known reconciliation involving Canada and the United States, each country under-recorded, in national statistics, exports of goods and travel credits by comparison with the other’s data on imports of goods and travel debits. Each country uses the other’s estimates for imports of goods and travel debits as estimates of exports of goods and travel credits with respect to the other country.

379. One country’s data may also be used to validate another country’s estimates. As discrepancies are identified and explained, compilers can improve areas of the BOP that are not of high quality. In recent years, various international analysts have made increasing use of cross-country data comparisons to correct anomalies in individual country compilation. Some of this work has been used by the IMF and various Fund-sponsored working groups to prepare world aggregate BOP estimates.62

Surveys of Foreign Embassies and International Institutions

380. Countries conduct surveys of foreign embassies and international institutions to measure own-account expenditures of these institutions and other transactions involving these entities and the compiling country. While some foreign embassies are not always cooperative, use of such surveys has increased. Response is often improved if the foreign embassy is aware that the BOP compiler in the foreign embassy’s home country approaches the host country’s embassy abroad for comparable data.

381. Model form 14 in appendix 2 requests the type of data that could be collected from foreign embassies and international institutions located in compiling countries. Part A of the form collects data on numbers of locally engaged (resident) staff and nonresident staff, such as diplomats. Part B collects data on such forms of expenditure as:

  • wages and salaries paid to local staff, including wages paid in kind and employer contributions to social security;

  • wages and salaries paid to nonresident staff (and estimates of amounts spent in the host country are requested);

  • other operating expenditure;

  • capital expenditure.

382. Data on numbers of employees and corresponding wages and salaries may be utilized to estimate expenditure patterns for nonreporting embassies and to provide a basis for projections. Techniques for making such estimates and projections are discussed in chapter 12, paragraphs 572-575.

383. Model form 14 also requests—for capital receipts, foreign aid transfers, and official loans—the type of information that could be collected from foreign embassies and international institutions located in compiling countries. Part C of the form requests data on receipts from the sale of land, buildings, and other capital items. Part D of the form requests separate data on cash grants (for recurrent expenditure and project financing), other official grants (for goods, services, and educational scholarships), military assistance, and the estimated value of donations from private institutions. Part E of the form seeks details of official loans—including arrears—in the form of a reconciliation statement.

Other Partner Country Data

384. In some instances, partner countries are approached directly for information required for BOP compilation purposes. For example, certain compilers approach governments in other countries to obtain data on numbers, classified by broad groups, of compiler country nationals employed in the other countries. These data, together with estimates of wage rates, are used to measure employee compensation for residents working abroad.

385. BOP compilers could also consult the published statistics of partner countries to obtain data for particular transactions, such as embassy expenditure and aid flows, with a compiling country.

386. Some countries collect data from other governments on the military expenditures of those governments in the compiling countries. In Germany, for example, authorities collect data from the U.S. government on U.S. military expenditures.

Data from International Institutions

387. This portion of the chapter examines development assistance data maintained by the DAC and external debt databases maintained by the World Bank, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the OECD, and the IMF. Data from these sources can be used in the absence of national data or as a check on the BOP compiler’s estimates. If such data (especially external debt data) are used, the compiler should recognize the inherent limitations of this information.

Development Assistance Data

388. The DAC is a useful source of data on international development assistance. Data, which are are crossclassified by donor and recipient countries, on grants and financing are provided in DAC annual publications.63

389. Reporting directives to donor countries are explained in chapter 8, paragraphs 354-356. DAC bilateral flow figures are based on questionnaires submitted by OECD members and supplemented with data compiled from published reports of multilateral organizations, data supplied directly by these organizations, bilateral aid figures supplied by certain Arab countries,64 and OECD staff estimates for certain other data. As mentioned in chapter 8, in DAC statistics, disbursements—rather than information on commitments—are most pertinent to the BOP.

390. Three problems arise from the use of DAC data. The first concerns conceptual differences, which are discussed in chapter 8, between DAC reporting directives and the BPM. However, interest rate subsidies—significant items included in the scope of reporting directives but not in the BOP—are separately allocated by country in DAC data. Second, some DAC items (such as administrative costs in the donor country) that are within the scope of the BOP are not allocated by recipient country. A technique for dealing with this problem is outlined in chapter 12, paragraph 576. Third, DAC data are compiled with a certain time lag. However, until actual data are available, extrapolations, which are discussed in chapters 14, 15, and 16, could be used.

External Debt

391. Statistics relating to external debt are published by the World Bank, the BIS, the OECD, and the IMF. An overview of these statistics is provided subsequently. A full description of the definitions, coverage, and methodology used in these statistics may be found in a joint publication produced by these organizations.65

World Bank Debt Data

392. The World Bank publishes, in respect of external debt of developing countries, data on stock positions, disbursements (drawings), repayments, interest payable, and debt reorganization in annual World Debt Tables: External Debt of Developing Countries.66 The publication contains, for developing countries, data on long-term public and publicly guaranteed debt; significant private, long-term, non-guaranteed debt; short-term debt; and Fund credit and loans. Developing countries report data primarily on a loan-by-loan basis by using the World Bank Debtor Reporting System (DRS).67 These data are supplemented, when necessary, by World Bank staff estimates and by estimates from other sources. These sources include creditors such as the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Central Bank for Economic Integration, the IMF, the International Development Association, and the World Bank itself—as well as organizations such as the OECD and BIS.

393. Private, non-guaranteed debt is reported by 25 countries. This number represents about half the countries considered to have significant external debt of this type. For other countries, data are compiled from information on guaranteed export credit; this information is supplemented with loan-by-loan information on official lending to the private sector from the OECD Creditor Reporting System (CRS).

394. Reports by debtor countries on short-term debt are accepted when available. Data are also compiled, from the OECD CRS, on officially guaranteed, short-term export credit and from other sources. The most important source is the BIS semiannual series showing the maturity distribution of commercial bank claims on developing countries. Data on Fund credit and loans from the Fund comes from the IMF.

395. Therefore, World Bank data may be better than that supplied by individual reporters because debtor reports used by the bank are supplemented by data from creditors and other sources. The compiler should be familiar with these data and should reconcile any differences in World Bank and national BOP data.

BIS International Banking Statistics

396. The BIS collects quarterly data on the stock positions and flows of external claims and liabilities of reporting banks and on the stock positions and flows of securities issued in the international securities market. The information is published in International Banking and Financial Market Developments.68 In addition to quarterly data, the BIS also collects and publishes half yearly data on the maturity and sector of bank lending.69

397. Data are collected from banks in 18 industrial countries and a number of offshore banking centers. 70 Banks report all their foreign currency claims and liabilities (although these are classified separately as claims on, and liabilities to, residents and nonresidents) and their domestic currency claims on, and liabilities to, nonresidents. Claims and liabilities are classified, respectively, by country of residence of debtor or creditor and, in turn, each category is classified by bank or nonbank counterparts.71 Securities issued are classified by country of issuer. More information on the methodology used in compiling these statistics may be found in the BIS publication Guide to BIS Statistics on International Banking.

398. From a BOP perspective, BIS statistics have some limitations and inconsistencies that include:

  • the definition of bank varies from country to country;

  • the international bank business of central banks is not reported, except in the United Kingdom and the United States;

  • reports of banks in about half the reporting countries include investments in equity in related banks;

  • the treatment of trade-related credits varies from country to country;

  • not all reporting provides full country classification.

Compilers should also note that BIS statistics do not cover nonbank-to-nonbank positions.

399. Nevertheless, BIS statistics provide useful information on international financial flows—particularly the derived data on individual countries’ nonbank claims on, and liabilities to, the rest of the world. These statistics can be a useful source in the absence of national data or a cross-check on national data. A number of countries use these data or IMF international banking statistics, which are discussed subsequently, to compile certain financial flows and investment income items for the BOP. Paragraphs 770-775 of chapter 16 describe a methodology for deriving BOP statistics by using international banking statistics.

IMF International Banking Statistics

400. The IMF Statistics Department publishes, in International Financial Statistics (IFS), data on the stock of external assets and liabilities of deposit banks. (In this context, external refers to claims on, and liabilities to, nonresidents.) These statistics are based upon data, which are reported to the department by IMF member countries. IMF statistics are also based upon special reports from 33 banking centers; the reports include detailed geographic analysis of external assets and liabilities of resident deposit banks.72 On the basis of the data reported by IMF member countries, it is possible to compile, for each country, data for bank claims on, and liabilities to, nonresidents. From the data supplied by the 33 banking centers, it is possible to derive, for each country, data on resident bank and nonbank liabilities to, and claims on, banks in the 33 banking centers.73

401. IMF banking statistics have limitations similar to those of BIS international banking statistics, which are described in the preceding section. However, provided appropriate care is taken, IMF statistics can be used, particularly for the nonbank sector’s stock of external assets and liabilities and associated financial and investment income transactions, as a source of BOP data. Paragraphs 770-775 of chapter 16 describe a methodology for compiling such estimates.

OECD Survey of External Debt of Developing Countries

402. The OECD compiles and publishes data, which are derived from creditor records, on the external debt of developing countries.74 The statistics cover official development assistance and officially supported lending, including insured export credit, reported in the OECD CRS75 and BIS data on bank lending. The CRS shares many essential features of the World Bank DRS; the two systems are designed to be as complementary as possible. The CRS obtains data from 21 OECD member countries on a loan-by-loan basis.

403. OECD statistics provide another useful source of data on international debt and may be used to validate nationally compiled data or, in the absence of suitable national data, to compile national statistics of external debt.